Karua meets ‘Kamwene’ leaders ahead of her declaration on NADCO report
Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya coalition co-principal Martha Karua on Monday, December 4 held deliberations with a section of leaders from the Mt Kenya region ahead of her much-awaited declaration on the recently unveiled National Dialogue Committee (NADCO) report.
The discussions with the co-founders of the Kamwene Leadership Forum were held over a cup of tea at an undisclosed location.
"Tea with Kamwene leaders," the Narc Kenya leader captioned her photo with the leaders after the meeting on Monday evening.
Tea with kamwene leaders pic.twitter.com/9BSiZl6Ojk— Martha Karua SC (@MarthaKarua) December 4, 2023
Karua and Kioni formally unveiled the Kamwene caucus in October to champion the interests of the vote-rich Mt Kenya region.
The formation of the new political movement lent some credence to possible differences within the Azimio coalition but the politicians were quick to dismiss the claims.
"It does not mean we are not in Azimio, if we weren't we would say it without beating around the bush. You saw us speak as Azimio, today we are here speaking as Kamwene, tomorrow I will speak as Narc-Kenya, all these are spaces we occupy," Karua said.
The former Azimio presidential running mate is expected to issue a formal statement regarding the NADCO report unveiled on November 25 after a series of social media posts poking holes in the document.
Karua on Sunday, December 3, termed the NADCO report as troubling, problematic and unacceptable days after Azimio leader Raila Odinga appeared to endorse the report despite admitting that it was "imperfect and unfinished".
She noted that she would give a detailed statement this week, sparking speculations of her looming walkout from the opposition coalition. She has since ruled out the possibility of her bolting out of the coalition.
Karua and former Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugine Wamalwa had distanced themselves from the report unveiled last month and called for immediate actions to lower the cost of living that has seen prices of basic commodities shoot through the roof.
“Any purported agreement that does not immediately impact on the cost of living, electoral justice and respect for multiparty democracy is a fraud on the people and must be rejected,” Karua said a day after the report was unveiled.
Wamalwa, a member of the 10-member NADCO committee, said he did not append his signature on the report.
“I didn’t and will not append my signature to the NADCO report and have not and will not accept any sitting allowance for the same because I believe we did not do justice to the single most important issue to Kenyans; the cost of living,” Wamalwa said while speaking at a church service in Busia County.
Karua's Narc Kenya and Eugine Wamalwa's Democratic Action Party of Kenya (DAP-K) are some of the key parties that joined forces to form the Azimio coalition ahead of last year's presidential election.
Karua, Wamalwa skip Azimio presser
The two leaders were conspicuously missing at a recent press conference called by Raila to give the coalition's official statement on the report.
During the event, Raila allayed fears of divisions in the party, saying the two leaders skipped the presser due to other pressing engagements.
“No, there is no disagreement at all on this issue,” Raila said on Wednesday.
During the press conference, the former prime minister said the coalition had taken note of the imperfections of the committee’s report, but acknowledged it as a crucial starting point.
“The document the team has come up with is, ultimately, imperfect and unfinished. But it is a beginning,” he stated.
Raila expressed reservations about the report for failing to propose tangible ways to reduce the cost of living.
He, nonetheless, blamed it on Kenya Kwanza's side, accusing them of being reluctant to address the issue.
"We have agreed to disagree on the most important matter to us. We made what believed were reasonable proposals on how to address the rising cost of living. But the government side flatly refused terming it their exclusive business and further arguing that they got the mandate of Kenyans to execute their Kenya Kwanza economic agenda," Raila stated.
"We will be engaging Kenyans further in the coming weeks as we must because the pain of the cost of living is really unbearable."
Raila, however, commended NADCO for its recommendations on electoral justice which entails audit of the 2022 election process, restructuring and reconstitution of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and an increase of the timelines for the Supreme Court to hear and determine a presidential election petition from 14 to 21 days.
The 10-member committee co-chaired by Kalonzo Musyoka of Azimio and Kimani Ichung'wah of Kenya Kwanza Alliance was formed to mediate a protracted dispute between the opposition and the Kenya Kwanza administration that saw Raila call for weekly street protests.